Five years of existence for the Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation Chair

in Pediatric Surgical Education and Patient and Family Centered Care

The Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation Chair in Pediatric Surgical Education and Patient and Family Centered Care was created in 2018 with two main mandates: to advance pediatric surgical education locally, nationally and internationally, and to integrate a culture of patient- and family-centered care into all aspects of clinical care for pediatric surgical patients. Officially announced at McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine on June 5, 2019, the Chair has been overseen for all these years by its inaugural holder, Dr. Sherif Emil.

A true spirit of collaboration, knowledge sharing and expertise has underpinned each of the Chair’s advances, which are aimed at providing patients with quality care, through :

  • Innovative projects to advance the teaching of pediatric surgery;
  • The creation of a Canadian Consortium for Research in Pediatric Surgery (CanCORPS);
  • The transposition to pediatrics of the Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) movement;
  • And many other projects related to patient-centered care.

Sharing knowledge across borders

A common thread runs through all these projects: the sharing of pediatric surgical knowledge, both in Montreal and around the world. Indeed, many of the initiatives developed have been disseminated internationally through online platforms and pedagogical innovation. One example is the launch of an innovative educational program on social media, #CBCLIPS (Case-Based Clinical Learning in Pediatric Surgery), with 45 episodes of educational content to date. The program has become “one of the most popular in pediatric surgery education, followed by thousands of practitioners and doctors in training worldwide”, as Dr. Emil puts it.

Training camps on the fundamentals of surgery, interactive workshops for international medical students, webinars and medical training on pediatric surgical topics, broadcasting academic activities with surgeons from all over the world, producing a video to educate families on one of the most common surgical procedures, publishing the book Clinical Pediatric Surgical: A Case Based Interactive Approach, which has become the leading textbook on pediatric surgery, or surgical capacity-building missions in sub-Saharan Africa: all of this has been developed thanks to the creation of the Chair, and has ensured an expansion of knowledge beyond the borders of Quebec and Canada.

Joining forces to help better

Another project that celebrates collaboration also took shape and materialized via the signing of an agreement between 15 Canadian pediatric centers in February 2020, later joined by a 16th center: The Canadian Pediatric Surgical Research Consortium. This is the culmination of several months of discussions between professionals, to be able to officially collectively develop projects to improve pediatric surgical care through high-quality research.

The 16 signatory centers are :

  • Montreal Children’s Hospital;
  • Alberta Children’s Hospital;
  • Stollery Children’s Hospital;
  • British Columbia Children’s Hospital;
  • Victoria General Hospital BC;
  • Winnipeg Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital;
  • Janeway Children’s Health and Rehabilitation Centre;
  • IWK Health Centre;
  • McMaster Children’s Hospital;
  • London Health Sciences Centre Children’s Hospital;
  • Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario;
  • SickKids;
  • CHU Sainte-Justine;
  • Laval University Hospital;
  • CHU de Sherbrooke;
  • and Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.

Promoting children’s recovery

Since improving care is a constant in the Chair’s objectives, establishing a new culture in pediatric surgical care became one of the priorities to work on in the early years, with the implementation of Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) inspired by adult practices, to enable rapid recovery of young patients undergoing major surgery.

Thanks to the invaluable involvement of families and collaboration between teams at Children’s and the Shriners, an initial enhanced recovery protocol has been established for the correction of Pectus Excavatum/Carinatum. This approach was based on the literature and the experience of patients who had undergone this procedure. In April 2023, Canada’s first-ever multidisciplinary conference on PAC in pediatrics brought together nearly 100 participants from across Quebec. An innovation in the field that highlighted the considerable impact of the ERAS approach for young patients.

What about the future?

Chairholder Dr. Emil is confident about the future of the Chair and the progress it will continue to make in pediatric surgery in the years to come. As he puts it : “The Mirella and Lino Saputo Foundation Chair is instilling a new culture of care in pediatric surgery, where we no longer only look at the child’s recovery, but the recovery of the entire family. A child’s recovery is a family’s recovery, and we will use the Chair resources to embed this concept in our approach to the surgical children along the entire spectrum.”

What is certain is that such achievements will not be made alone, and that continued collaboration will be essential to maintain a level of excellence in patient- and family-centered care and surgical education in paediatrics.

Picture order: Surgeons aboard the Mercy Ship, Book “Clinical Pediatric Surgical: A Case Based Interactive Approach“, Speakers at the multidisciplinary ERAS conference in pediatrics in Montreal.